In WW2, the 8th Army had been pushed back across the desert by The Afrika Corps.
Rommel was a better general, he also had better tanks, he had better weapons, the 88mm gun could knock out our tanks at twice the range.
Rommel knew he could beat our forces in a fight, which was how he’d driven them back across the desert.
His tactics, his weaponry, his army was much more modern, so how did he lose?
He forgot the basics.
The further you push an enemy back, the further your supply lines stretch.
Rommel concentrated on the modern aspects of fighting and that was his weakness.
As the Germans advanced, their supply trucks would have to drive further and further across the desert to get to their army.
This made them a much easier target for the RAF, bombing and strafing unescorted trucks was no problem.
Rommel’s success was his downfall, as the RAF destroyed his supply-lines his army ran out of food, ammunition, and fuel.
The Afrika Corps was forced to retreat chased by the 8th Army, who had worse equipment.
Rommel lost the desert war because he was so fixated on the complicated part, the fighting, that he forgot the basics: an army can’t fight if it’s not supplied.
The Germans had to learn the same lesson several years later at the Battle of the Bulge.
They had more soldiers and better weapons but they didn’t have control of the skies.
The allied planes destroyed their supply lines and all their state-of-the-art tanks became expensive pillboxes.
Napoleon had to learn that lesson over a century earlier when invading Russia.
He had the best army in the world, but the Russians simply kept retreating until his supply lines were stretched so long they could easily be destroyed.
Napoleon forgot the basics, as Rommel later would.
At the beginning of 2022, there was a 40-mile line of Russian tanks outside Kyiv, everyone waited for the inevitable overwhelming assault, but it never came.
The Russians thought it was a brilliant coup to outflank the Ukrainians and unleash an unstoppable tank attack against their capital.
But in concentrating on tactical brilliance they forgot the basics.
There were no plans in place to supply a 40-mile long column of tanks.
When they began sending fuel trucks it was easy for the Ukrainians to destroy them.
There is now lots of footage on YouTube of Ukrainian farmers laughing as they stole the deserted Russian tanks for scrap.
So, what are the basics we in advertising should be concentrating on?
Carl Ally said “The purpose of advertising is to deliver useful consumer information in an executionally brilliant way”.
We seem to have forgotten the basic part: “To deliver useful consumer information”.
We don’t do that because we’re too busy concentrating on the next part: “An executionally brilliant way”.
We concentrate on the second part because that’s the part that wins awards.
People on an awards jury can’t judge if the strategy’s any good, but they can all judge pretty pictures, so that’s what wins.
Everyone is seduced by pretty pictures, it doesn’t matter that the pictures could be for anyone or anything.
It doesn’t matter no one will remember the name of the brand paying for the pictures.
Consequently, it’s not advertising, it’s just entertainment.
Because we forgot the basics of what we’re supposed to be doing..